Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV on Thursday that if President Donald Trump tries to withhold funding from Democrat-controlled cities, his administration "will end up in court quite clearly."
The White House on Wednesday issued a memo threatening to withhold federal funding from several cities that are allowing "anarchy, violence, and destruction." The memo specifically mentions New York City, New York; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, D.C., but not Minneapolis, Minnesota, or Kenosha, Wisconsin, which have seen some of the most unrest in recent weeks.
"Well the law is very unclear," Dershowitz told "National Report" on Thursday. "I don't know of any other president who's ever threatened to do that or try to do that — it will end up in court quite clearly. There's nothing in the Constitution which is specific about it, nor am I aware of any legislation that is specific about it. The question is, does the president have the inherent authority to hold up funds that were allocated by Congress? I suspect in the end the answer will probably be no."
He added, "The analogy you would have to go back to would be, for example, if during the civil rights period, the president tried to withhold funding from cities that refused to integrate. This is different, of course — this is not Constitutional integration, this is the threat of violence. The president does have the authority, under some statutes, to send in federal troops or at least the homeland security … to protect federal buildings, to protect federal personnel, but it's an area of law that’s totally unclear and without precedent."
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